Is an Alcoholic Intervention Going to Make the Situation Worse?

Alcoholic interventions offer your loved one’s family and friends the opportunity to help them understand the importance of going to treatment. For many families, an intervention is the last resort that they can try before cutting off ties completely. While these interventions are effective, they can also be extremely emotional and occasionally unsuccessful.

In some cases, you may find that your loved one gets so upset that they leave the intervention, yet many people return with a different mindset after they have time to cool off. Understanding how to hold an intervention and what to do to keep it from making things worse gives you confidence as you proceed with getting your loved one the help they need to stay sober.

How Does an Intervention Work?

Interventions can look different from one group of people to another. However, they typically consist of a group of a person’s close friends and family members getting together to talk to them all at once about the effects of their drinking. In most cases, an intervention begins long before everyone sits down with the person who has a problem with alcohol. For example, you may start off by talking to a counselor that specializes in interventions before you meet with anyone else.

You may also get together with the group to discuss what each person has to say. Deciding beforehand helps to keep things from being repetitive or going too long. An initial meeting with everyone together also helps you to determine each person’s mindset. While it is expected that people will express how a person’s alcohol use is damaging their relationships, you want to make sure that everyone knows to keep unrelated issues out of the meeting. An alcoholic intervention should focus specifically on alcohol.

Who Should Be Involved in the Intervention?

An intervention is often embarrassing to the person that is being confronted. Your loved one will naturally feel as though they are being ganged up on or put on the spot from the very beginning. For this reason, it is best to limit the intervention to only the closest people in their life who they can trust to be honest and forgiving as they work through the process of seeking help. A few people that you might want to include are the following.
•parents
•adult children
•spouse
•best friend that does not misuse alcohol

There are also a few people that you should not include in the intervention. For the best chances of a successful outcome, avoid including anyone who actively encourages your loved one’s alcohol misuse. This simply gives a mixed message and leaves room open for your loved one to point out that the person drinks with them all the time. You should also avoid having young children included in the conversation simply because the intervention can get heated. However, you can have a representative of the children such as the other parent speak up on their behalf by sharing things they have witnessed such as the person not showing up for important events because they were too busy drinking.

How Do We Follow Through Afterward?

There are several possible reactions that your loved one may have once they realize they are at their own intervention. In some cases, they will accept everyone’s concern and be willing to work on improving their health and emotional wellbeing. In other cases, your loved one may get angry, storm out or refuse to even talk about treatment. If you have carefully planned the intervention, this is less likely to happen, but it can. The good news is that you can also use a negative reaction to help your loved one get help.

Always start your intervention with the end in mind. Have a list of treatment options available for them to choose from if they decide immediately to get help with their alcohol addiction. You should also have consequences prepared to share if they choose not to accept help. For instance, you may tell them that they cannot live in your house anymore if they continue to drink. You may also need to cut them off financially if you believe that the money you give them is used for alcohol. While it is hard to practice tough love, facing these consequences for a few days or weeks could be what it takes to get your loved one to accept the reasoning behind the intervention.

It is natural to be nervous about presenting your loved one with your concerns about their alcohol use. For more tips on how to get them help, reach out to our counselors today at 800-723-7376.